Atlético Madrid got away with a draw against Stade Rennais on Thursday night.
Juanfran scored late on for the Rojiblancos, who were trailing after a fantastic strike by Montaño had deservedly given the French side the lead.
Before the match Gregorio Manzano had announced to use his best players for this match and his starting formation beared few surprises, with Adrián starting over José Antonio Reyes being the only novelty.
Rennes did well in the first half to pressure our creative players and Atleti’s front three were void of useful passes. The French side was more dangerous and were often allowed to shoot from distance, but the first opportunity was for Gabi. His shot went off target.
In the 17th minute a Colombian forward hit the side netting, but it was Rennes’ forward Montaño who provided the danger, and not Atleti’s record signing Falcao, who saw little of the ball in the Route de Lorient stadium tonight.
Some minutes later Adrián’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Costil and Mario Suárez headed over from close range. Those were Atleti’s best chances in a poor first half.
At the other end Thibaut Courtois had his hands full. He saved shots by Kembo-Ekoko and Doumbia and saw the latter head just wide.
After the break Rennes continued to pressure Atleti on every part of the pitch, which led to various chances for the home side. In the 56th minute they finally were rewarded for their hard work. Montaño launched a missile from the middle of the park, to which Courtois had no answer.
Montaño’s strike seemed to be the wake up call the Rojiblancos needed, because Atlético almost immediately got one back. But from only a couple of yards out Falcao failed to get any power behind the ball to convert Diego’s header into a goal.
Just after an hour of play Atleti came very close when Diego hit a low shot towards the corner, but Costil pulled off an amazing save to keep the Brazilian out.
In the minutes that followed, with Salvio and Reyes brought on in the meantime, there were chances for Falcao, but for the first time in 7 Europa League matches the striker failed to find the back of the net.
In the 82nd minute substitute Pitroipa came close to doubling the lead for Stade Rennais, but his shot sailed wide. An attempt by centre back Mandjeck also whistled past the post.
Just as there seemed to be no time left, Atlético equalised. Reyes and Salvio quickly took a short corner, and the Argentine’s low cross was met by Juanfran at the second post. The winger controlled the ball and then smashed it towards goal. Costil had no chance as the shot went in off the crossbar.
In the dying seconds Rennes made a late push to keep all three points in Bretagne, but Atlético held on for an undeserved point.
We lead Group I of the Europa League with 4 points from two matches, along with Udinese who tied 1-1 with Celtic. Next up for Atleti is a trip to Udine on the 20th of October.
Line-up: Courtois; Perea, Miranda, Domínguez, Filipe; Diego, Mario, Gabi (“73 Reyes); Adrián (“63 Salvio), Falcao and Arda (“80 Juanfran).
Goals: 1-0 Montaño (“56); 1-1 Juanfran (“87)